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104                           Egyptian Art
which had been used for notes, sketches, or paintings, and which
are now known as ostraka. Many of them represent accounts;
others are letters, and some give extracts from works of litera-
ture to serve as models for young writers. Large numbers of
them, fortunately, have preserved for us exercises in drawing,
copies from the monuments of the burial-place, and also figures
and scenes portrayed with a freedom which is wonderfully
attractive. Several of these works must certainly have been in-
tended as illustrations for popular stories, including animal
fables (Fig. 12). Some, too, are of such a nature that one
instantly recognizes in them the results of imagination on the
part of an artist who has employed a leisure moment in seeking
to catch and note down the attitudes he has observed in real
life. Some of the figures of female musicians or dancers created
in this way have quickly won a place in the traditional subject-
matter, which has thus been enlivened and transformed.
It is a long time since the figure of the acrobat at Turin
(Fig. 13) revealed to the eyes of students prospects of an art
more lively than that shown in the ritual scenes of the temples.
To-day one can point to several hundreds of examples, all in
the same manner as the acrobat, which come from Deir el-
Medineh or the Valley of the Kings, constituting an impor-
tant chapter in the history of Egyptian art.
§ xv. The Workshop of Thutmose
In a quiet street, not far from the great wady which, coming
in from the desert, passes through the city of Amenhotep IV, the
ruins of a brick house have been brought to light. There is
nothing to distinguish it from the usual type of houses of the
nobles at TeD el-Amarna, and I know many visitors who have
missed having it pointed out to them by the official guides of
the Service des Antiquites. Yet it is one of those places that
art-lovers are wont to call a 'shrine'. From the midst of these
crumbling ruins, doomed to destruction a few years hence by